Kevin Harvick bumps Kyle Busch out of the way for New Hampshire win

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/sprint/drivers/205/" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Harvick">Kevin Harvick</a> puts in an ear piece as he prepares to practice for the NASCAR Cup Series auto race Saturday, July 21, 2018, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Kevin Harvick puts in an ear piece as he prepares to practice for the NASCAR Cup Series auto race Saturday, July 21, 2018, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Kevin Harvick retook the Cup Series lead in wins Sunday at New Hampshire with a bump of Kyle Busch.

Harvick bumped his way past Busch with less than seven laps to go to get his series-leading sixth win of the season. Harvick and Busch had entered the race tied with five wins apiece, so their head-to-head battle over the last 20 laps was somewhat of a battle for Cup Series superiority.

(via NBCSN)
(via NBCSN)

Harvick ran Busch down over those final 20 laps and had a faster car through the middle of the corners as he caught Busch. But Busch was hogging Harvick’s line, so Harvick made his presence known with an earlier tap of Busch’s bumper.

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That didn’t faze the 2015 champ so Harvick bumped him again. A little harder. That worked and sent Busch out of the groove.

Harvick’s win also means he’s set a career-high in victories in a season. And there are still 16 races to go in the 2016 season. It’s a great bet that he’ll get to eight or nine wins. Maybe even more.

Why Harvick bumped Busch

“I just didn’t know if I was going to get there again and felt like that was my best opportunity to do what I had to do to win. I didn’t want to wreck him but I didn’t want to waste a bunch of time behind him,” Harvick said after climbing from his car.

Busch finished second and Aric Almirola finished third. Busch took the lead on pit road on the race’s last caution and had the lead off the restart.

“With a faster car I’m not sure he had to do it,” Busch said of the bump. “He did, it’s fine. How you race is how you get raced. So it’s fine.”

It’s the second time in four weeks that Busch has been involved in a fender-bumping finish. He traded contact with Kyle Larson on the way to a win at Chicago and Larson noted that Busch had bumped him out of the way earlier in the season at Bristol in the way to a win.

What Harvick did to Busch on Sunday was not much different than what Busch did to Larson. New Hampshire is a notoriously tough place to pass and while Harvick did have a faster car, can you blame him for nudging Busch out of the groove? He did nudge Busch far enough towards the wall that Busch didn’t have an opportunity to get back to Harvick’s bumper. But he didn’t wreck him.

With less than 10 laps to go it’s a fair move. Or, at the very least, it’s a move that NASCAR wants to see happen more often than not when drivers are racing for the lead late in a race.

Busch still has a points edge

We said “somewhat” of a battle for superiority above because Busch still retains the points lead over Harvick by 53 points. That’s important with six races to go until the playoffs begin because the regular-season champion earns 15 bonus points to use in the playoffs to second place’s 10.

Here are the full results from New Hampshire:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
3. Aric Almirola
4. Martin Truex Jr.
5. Chase Elliott
6. Ryan Newman
7. Ryan Blaney
8. Kurt Busch
9. Joey Logano
10. Jimmie Johnson
11. Alex Bowman
12. Kyle Larson
13. Denny Hamlin
14. William Byron
15. Matt Kenseth
16. Erik Jones
17. Paul Menard
18. Jamie McMurray
19. Kasey Kahne
20. Chris Buescher
21. Austin Dillon
22. Daniel Suarez
23. Ty Dillon
24. Bubba Walace
25. Ross Chastain
26. Michael McDowell
27. Corey LaJoie
28. Matt DiBenedetto
29. David Ragan
30. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
31. Kyle Weatherman
32. Brad Keselowski
33. Blake Jones
34. BJ McLeod
35. Clint Bowyer
36. AJ Allmendinger
37. Landon Cassill

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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